Assassin’s Creed 3 Review: One Step Forward, Two Back
It’s amazing, sometimes, how a video game can manage to create dual reactions of “awesome” and “awful” within a few seconds of one another.
But that was my experience with Assassin’s Creed 3, by and large. There are many cool ideas that worked their way into the game, and just as many jarring, slight irritations, just enough to detract from the experience or make it slightly frustrating. For a flagship franchise now on its fifth game in the core series, we expect higher quality — a certain level of polish.
First Look with Mitch and Zac from Game Front’s Walkthrough Channel on Youtube
It’s polish that Assassin’s Creed 3 lacks, both in bugs that made it into the final game and in design decisions that make little or no sense. Those two sets of elements collude to make this feel like a first outing, rather than the culmination of five years of game development for the series. For as interesting as Assassin’s Creed 3 is on paper, the result of the series’ fifth entry is a step back for the franchise as a whole.
Assassin’s Creed 3 (Playstation 3 [Reviewed], Xbox 360, PC)
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Release Date: Oct. 30, 2012
That’s not to say Assassin’s Creed 3 is wholly bad, because it isn’t. Let’s start out by saying that anything that follows, both criticism and praise, is built on the solid foundation of the Assassin’s Creed formula: sneak, climb, and stab. Those things still work as they always have, and really, if they were broken at all we’d be having a much different discussion. Since it has that strong skeleton that made the last four games work, Assassin’s Creed 3 comes with a baseline of quality, and then builds upon it with a few new gameplay ideas, along with a new setting and characters.
The game has its moments, definitely, and there are few, if any, games that pack the value the AC series does in terms of sheer sh-t to do in a video game. The new game focuses on the exciting setting of Revolutionary War America as viewed by Connor, a new character who is torn between the hopes of a burgeoning nation and the need to protect his Native American people. And it adds a few new and exciting systems to the existing formula of climbing on buildings and stabbing bad guys without anyone seeing.
Those new tools are, by and large, just fine — a bow and arrow is fun to shoot once in a while, as are muskets, and ramming an enemy’s head into a rack of sharp farm equipment earns that violent satisfaction upon which the game is based. The new corner cover system is something Assassin’s Creed games have always lacked and never known it, and when it works, hiding in bushes and ground cover gives you a “lion stalking the Savannah” kind of feeling as you approach targets.
As Connor, players experience the revolution while also fighting the evil and ubiquitous Templars, who have largely infiltrated the British side of the war (although not only the Redcoats). Connor’s big boon and the best part of the game is that he’s able to take to the trees in a way that no assassin before him ever has, and that’s convenient because so much of Colonial America is made up of the sweeping wilderness called the Frontier. Following convoys, hunting animals, ambushing soldiers — it’s a nice change of pace to sneak around in snow-covered forests, especially when you can move over your enemies undetected.